Turtle breed menace to fish farms



CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Chinese softshell turtles (Pelodiscus sinensis) have found their way in the waters of Pampanga, Bulacan and Bataan, preying on bangus (milkfish) and tilapia fingerlings in fishponds there, an environment official said on Tuesday.

Maximo Dichoso, executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon, said he formed a task force to address complaints against the proliferation of the turtles in the region’s waters.

The turtles grow to a foot long and have made their way to Manila Bay through ballast water discharged by ships docking in Manila, Dichoso told Inquirer.

The Pampanga River, the mouth of which is straddled by the three Central Luzon provinces, drains toward Manila Bay. High tide and sea level rise push the water inland.

In a statement, Dichoso said the turtles are “growing in population” and are an “invasive alien species.”

The task force, he said, has been instructed to look into the turtles’ distribution, feeding habits and reproductive characteristics.

The six-month study will help the DENR make a policy on the quota for the collection of the turtles as food or export items.

Two residents from Minalin town and a businessman in Las Piñas City have obtained special use permits to harvest the turtles for export.

Citing data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the DENR said the turtle’s meat is a native delicacy in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and Russia.

Dichoso said strong market demand for turtle meat in China and other Asian countries will open a viable business opportunity among wildlife collectors in the affected provinces.

Dichoso said he urged the public to report sightings and nesting sites of the turtles. He warned against propagating the turtles or raising these as pets.

Monitored in the 1990s, the animals have multiplied and are now considered a threat to local biodiversity and a pest in the multimillion-peso fishery industry in the three provinces, he said.

Pampanga leads in tilapia growing in the region, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The turtles have multiplied to a point where they have become a menace like the golden kuhol (snail) in the 1980s, said Arthur Salazar, deputy director for protected areas, wildlife and coastal zone management service, in the same statement.

He said the softshell turtle is carnivorous and aggressive, “preferring to forage at night to feed on fish, crustaceans, mollusks and insects.” Tonette Orejas and Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Commentus-Maximus/100003024144025 Commentus Maximus

    The Chinese really have a tendency to invade, even their turtles are the same.

  • JuanTamadachi

    Developing a taste for turtle soup should help control this invasive specie.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GUVVKS4SPGK5S5C5ZR4D2N2M5I anak ng sultan

     marami na din dito sa MINDANAO  nyan, talaga atang nasakop na tayo ng intsik, lahat ng murang junk disposable items sa bangketa made in CHINA anu kaya ang susunod? nagkalat na din ang mga INTSIK na hindi pa marunong magtagalog pero nakakapag negosyo na dito kahit saan.. NAKAKABAHALA NA PO ITO MGA KABABAYAN!!!!!! WALA PARING NAGPASIMUNO NG ANTI-CHINESE CAMPAIGN DITO SATIN..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Lynel-F-Joven/685946584 Charles Lynel F. Joven

    these species are endangered…why don’t you guys at the DENR do something before all of them end up in the dinner tables of these kapampangan farmers?

  • DGuardian

    Hindi tradisyonal na pagkain ng mga Pilipino ang turtles. Kapag sinimulan ang pagkain ng turtles maging sila pa ay mga Chinese softshell turtles, ito ay maaaring maging precedent  at maging simula ng pagkain ng mga pagong bilang pang-araw-araw na pagkain ng mga Pilipino. Maaari ring dahil nakasanayang kumain ng pagong, maging ang mga native nating pond turtles at iba pang native species at maging ang mga sea turtles ay gawin na ring karaniwang pagkain ng mga kababayan natin. Sa Cebu lamang at sa iba pang coastal areas ay pinapatay, ipinagbibili, at kinakain ng mga walang konsensiya nating mga kababayan ang mga sea turtles at hindi man lamang sila hinuhuli at napaparusahan ganoong ipinagbabawal ang paghuli at pagkain sa mga sea turtles at iba pang species ng pagong. Sana ay sikapin na lamang ma-contain ang proliferation ng mga Chinese turtles na ito at huwag silang gawing pagkain o padamihin para sa export. Iba ang kultura natin sa mga tao sa China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam at Russia. Ang pagong ay hindi dapat maging putahe sa ating mga hapag-kainan at sana maging ng anumang mga bansa.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    pati pagong ng mga insik nakakarating ng pinas siguro pati pagong tumakas sa china dahil bawal dun lumaban sa gobyerno iuulam ka nila!

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